"The hydra seems to be immortal." This observation is the driving force for the group of Dr Brigitte Galliot at the University of Geneva. Researchers of her laboratory investigate how the stem cells and the cellular plasticity work in this little animal, a champion in regeneration. The team, supported by the National Center of Competence in Research Frontiers in Genetics, just discovered a new kind of developmental program used by hydra to reconstitute its head after amputation. The mechanism relies on a massive self-destruction of the superficial cells, which, just before dying, orchestrate the cellular response required for reconstruction. This molecular dialogue, recently published in the journal Developmental Cell, could represent a way to launch regeneration, valid in several animal species including humans.
Full press release (in french): com_hydre.pdf (124 Kb)